Saturday, October 18, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> PA Bruins roll over Red Devils in first half

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville football team had no answer for the precision Pulaski Academy offense on Friday, but the gauntlet is run. In their third-consecutive game against one of the three preseason favorites in the 5A Central, the Red Devils fell hard 55-7 to the Bruins in West Little Rock.

Jacksonville was trying to bounce back after a second-consecutive heartbreaking loss after losing by less than a score to Beebe and Sylvan Hills in back-to-back weeks. But there wasn’t much bounce left.

The Bruins dominated every facet of the game, piling up 445 total yards to just 180 for Jacksonville. The Red Devils’ usual strong running game was held to 30 yards on the ground when negative plays were counted. Senior tailback Lamont Gause, who has gone over 110 yards the last two games, was held to 48 yards on 14 carries by Pulaski Academy’s defense

Jacksonville got 150 yards through the air. Junior quarterback Brandon Hickingbotham completed 9 of 19 pass attempts for 69 yards. Sophomore Rowdy Weathers took over late in the game and provided a lift. He completed 6 of 7 attempts for 81 yards on the game’s final drive that stalled when time expired.

The Bruins ran up 399 of their total yards and all 55 of their points in the first half. Failed extra points followed the first two touchdowns. PA covered the third onside kick and scored on the very next play. This time the extra point was good, making it 19-0 with six minutes left in the first quarter.

Jacksonville’s Keilen Richardson fielded the ensuing onside kick and returned it to the Bruins’ 26, setting up Jacksonville’s only score.

On third and 6, Hickingbotham hit Gause for 13 yards. Two plays later, Gause carried 6 yards for the score. John Herrmann’s extra point made it 19-7 with 11:54 left in the opening half.

The Bruins returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Jacksonville 16, and scored three plays later on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Will Hefley to Tre Bruce. The two-point conversion was also by Bruce, making it 27-7 with 11:10 left in the half.

PA got another onside kick and scored on the first play, making it 34-7 with 11 minutes left in the half.

The Bruins kicked deep from that point on, and all subsequent kickoffs went into the end zone. Jacksonville went backwards 16 yards after a high snap and a penalty, and punted from its own 3.

PA started its next drive at the 46, and scored on two carries by Bruce to make it 41-7.

Jacksonville again went backwards with a run for -2 yards and consecutive intentional grounding penalties. The Bruins started at their 43 after a huge punt by Herrmann, and scored in seven plays to make it 48-7 with three minutes remaining in the first half.

Jacksonville turned it over on downs in four plays, and PA set the final margin with a one-play, 28-yard drive.

The Bruins, 6-1, 4-0, host Mills next week while Jacksonville, 1-6, 1-2, hosts North Pulaski.